Sunday, July 28, 2019

Iron Boy 52

By Steve Ward, Ringside

The Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix played host to a night of pure pugilistic bliss as Iron Boy Promotions presented Iron Boy 52. After some young fighters from the Phoenix chapter of USA Boxing were given their moment in the spotlight for four amateur contests, the pros took center stage as the capacity crowd bared witness to six exhilarating professional bouts. As always, Iron Boy showcased the finest local talent, primarily from Arizona, as they progress on their young campaigns towards hopeful superstardom.

Allen Navarez (2-2-0, 1 KO) vs. Deshawn Boyd (4-0-0, 2 KOs) Four Rounds, 132 lbs
Decision: Deshawn Boyd via UD (39-37, 39-37, 40-36)

Allen Navarez attempted to bring the fight to Boyd for the duration of round one, unfortunately for him, it was to no avail. Boyd displayed great composure as he played more of a counter-puncher role peppering Navarez with shots each time he was able to avoid his advances all with a smile on his face for the majority of the round. Navarez continued to push the action in round two, however, his reckless abandon did leave him open for a few solid shots from Boyd that he was luckily able to sustain. Rounds three and four saw Boyd begin to answer less of Navarez’ offense, however, the punches he did land were with more conviction as his power game came into play. The judges were all in accordance as the unanimous decision was awarded to Boyd keeping his perfect campaign intact.

Chad Davis (5-15-0, 1 KO) vs. Waldo Cortez Acosta (4-2-0, 2 KOs) Six Rounds, Heavyweights
Decision: Waldo Cortez Acosta via TKO in round 3

Round one of this clash of heavyweights, each from Phoenix, turned into an extended feeling out process. The two fighters stood toe to toe with little to no movement aside from a couple brief flurries. Round two saw an uptick in the action but the most exciting moment of the round arguably was when Davis almost bulldozed Acosta through the ropes in the closing seconds. Acosta was like a man possessed as round three commenced. Acosta proceeded to deliver a vicious barrage of shots to Davis that was capped with a right uppercut that dropped him to the canvas. While Davis was able to answer the referee’s count, Acosta continued his relentless assault which quickly lead the referee to put a stop to the action.

Damarias Russell (0-1-0) vs. Eduardo Ayala (5-0-1, 2 KOs) Four Rounds, 165 lbs
Decision: Eduardo Ayala via TKO in round 2

Marine Corps combat veteran Damarias Russell made his professional debut against the undefeated Eduardo Ayala. Round one showed there would be no feeling out process as the two pugilists went after each other immediately. Russell may have been a bit overzealous as he was quickly knocked down but quickly recovered and immediately snapped Ayala’s head back with a stiff jab. Russell attempted to push the action in round two landing some nice shots, most notably a strong left hook. This wasn’t enough with Ayala’s strong jaw absorbing the brutal blow. Russell again left himself open late in the round and Ayala was able to capitalize with a stiff right to the jaw that again dropped Russell to the canvas. Russell was able to return to his feet but he clearly did not know he was in Phoenix as the referee called a stop to the action.

Vernon Brown (11-1-1, 7 KOs) vs. Roberto Yong (6-17-2, 4 KOs) Six Rounds, 151 lbs
Decision: Vernon Brown via SD (57-56 Yong, 59-54 Brown, 58-55 Brown)

After a rather uneventful first round and a half, the action picked up in the closing moments of round two. Yong decided to drop his hands and showboat a bit which Brown did not appreciate much as he answered with a right hook that dropped him to the canvas. After Yong returned to his feet, Brown trapped him on the ropes and teed off on Yong as he did his best to cover up for the remainder of the round - shockingly without a stoppage by the ref. In round three, Brown was able to continue to put in some solid work as he exploited Yong’s lack of defense with another right hook that rattled his cage but Yong was again able to survive the round. Rounds four through six saw Brown control the tempo of the fight as he continued to cut off the ring and continue to exploit Yong with his right hook much to the chagrin of his corner. To Yong’s credit, he continued to attempt to answer Brown and demonstrated a solid chin throughout the fight. As is often the case with judges from the Arizona Athletic Commission, the decision was a bit questionable as one judge gave the fight to Yong, nonetheless, Brown was able to walk away with the split decision victory.

Co-Main Event
Francisco Dominguez (7-11-1, 1 KO) vs. Jesus Ibarra (9-0-0, 4 KOs) Six Rounds, 126 lbs
Decision: Jesus Ibarra via UD (60-52, 59-53, 60-53)

Dominguez certainly did not come out in round one looking like a fighter with 10 losses as he brought the fight to Ibarra until he was dropped to the canvas with a left hook – one that Dominguez and his corner argued was to the back of the head and they may have had a legit argument. For the next two and a half rounds, Dominguez appeared to slow down a bit until Ibarra snapped his head back with a straight right in round four that reinvigorated him making the second half of this round quite competitive. Dominguez tried to continue to get back into the fight at the onset of round five until another straight right broke through his guard and landed him on the canvas. Perhaps it was fatigue or erring on the side of caution, but rather than pounce on Ibarra, Dominguez elected to strategically pick his punches for the remainder of the round as he firmly asserted control.

Main Event
Omar Garcia (6-9-0, 1 KO) vs. Trini Ochoa (7-0-0, 4 KOs) Six Rounds, 140 lbs
Decision: Trini Ochoa via TKO in round 6

Trini Ochoa demonstrated outstanding ring generalship throughout this fight as he barely allowed Garcia to land any meaningful shots while he kept him at bay with a quite effective jab which he used to open the opportunity for some very effective body work. Garcia also had a tendency to lift his arms in a “V” every time Ochoa landed a combo to his body-while Garcia seemed to be trying to tell Ochoa he wasn’t hurting him, I’d beg to argue that he was more in search of relief for some ailing ribs. In round six, Garcia had a significant cut open up above his right eye from an accidental head-butt that initially caused the ring doctor to be called upon to check him. After Garcia was allowed to continue, Ochoa immediately went after the eye and despite Garcia’s attempts to answer his attack, referee Wes Melton stepped in to call an end to the contest.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Iron Boy 52 Preview

By Steve Ward

The pugilists of Iron Boy Promotions make their return to Phoenix, Arizona this Saturday evening as the storied Celebrity Theatre plays host to Iron Boy 52. Iron Boy is poised again to satiate the thirst of Phoenix fight fans for top tier sanctioned savagery as they are prepared again to showcase the finest up and coming professional fighters coupled with some grizzled veterans of the squared circle.

The co-main event will pit 21-year old Jesus Ibarra (8-0-0, 4 KOs) as he seeks to remain undefeated against Francisco Dominguez (7-10-1, 1 KO) in a six round bout that will be contested at 126 lbs. Ibarra, a resident of nearby Apache Junction, AZ, will try to continue to build momentum on the heels of his most recent victory – a unanimous decision victory over Isaac Camarillo back in April. Ibarra’s opponent, Francisco “Panchito” Dominguez, a veteran of 18 professional bouts, will seek to right the ship of his career as he is currently riding a seven-fight winless streak with his last victory coming way back in 2010 as he earned a unanimous decision or Arturo Murillo.

In the main event, budding fan favorite Trini Ochoa (6-0-0, 3 KOs) will also strive to remain undefeated in his young campaign as he battles Omar Garcia (6-8-0, 1 KO) at 140 lbs. Ochoa will already be making his third appearance of 2019 after he fought FOUR TIMES in 2018. Ochoa most recently stepped into the ring in April as he made quick work of Elliot Brown with a third round knockout. The 20-year old Ochoa’s opposition will be supplied by 35-year old Omar Garcia. Garcia who goes by the moniker Mr. Power (I must say this may be one of the best ring names I’ve ever seen as it would have perfectly suited a heel character in the 1989 Hulk Hogan classic No Holds Barred – in fact, it’s so incredible that the gentlemen of The Weigh-In may need to bestow it upon our esteemed colleague Justin Dohnson), will seek to return to the win column as he is in the midst of an intimidating six fight losing streak. Garcia last tasted victory in April of 2016 as he earned a unanimous decision over Juan Payta.

The casual fight fan may look at the seemingly mismatched records between some of these fighters and discount the result as being anything but an inevitable victory for the “A side” fighter. An assumption as such would quite frankly be foolish.  These combatants don’t continue to rigorously train to simply get in the ring and lose which is why these action-packed events always provide such a compelling dynamic. Fans not only have the opportunity to witness prospects cut their teeth on the way to potential stardom but also discover whether these young fighters have the grit to overcome some deceivingly stout competition who are not there necessarily to just “lay down” but still have their own hopes of some semblance of glory - despite a seemingly lopsided record.

Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to witness all of the action within the intimate confines of the Celebrity Theatre this Saturday! Tickets are still available at starting at only $30, however, if you are not able to come out don’t fret because the fights will be live-streamed on!

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Thomas LaManna Interview

By Luis A. Cortes III

Check out my recent interview with Thomas "Cornflake" LaManna (27-2-1)! 

LaManna will step into the ring for his 31st professional fight this Saturday at the Showboat in Atlantic City. LaManna will square off against Puerto Rico's Carlos Garcia Hernandez (15-21-1) in an eight round bout in the super welterweight division. 

You can stream the interview on both SoundCloud and iTunes

Thomas LaManna Interview with Luis Cortes on SoundCloud

Thomas LaManna Interview with Luis Cortes on iTunes

For more information on this great night of boxing in Atlantic City, visit the Rising Star Promotions official website

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Monday, July 15, 2019

The New Jersey Boxing Scene

New Jersey fight fans will not have to travel far to watch their home grown pugilists this summer as three scheduled fight cards in “The Garden State” will feature homegrown talent.  Leading the parade, 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson headlined a well-attended Top Rank promoted show at the Prudential Center in Newark.

The city of Newark has nothing but love for Stevenson and loudly cheered the 2016 Olympic silver medalist's entrance into the arena. Pumped up for his homecoming celebration, Stevenson,126 lbs, punched the air out of Alberto Guervara, 125.4 lbs of Mazatlan, Mexico, stopping him at 2:37 of the third round. Excited about his homecoming celebration,  southpaw Stevenson started fast dropping Guervar twice during the second before ending it in the next stanza with a double right hook and straight left to Guervara's head.  Stevenson, 12-0 (7 Ko’s), called for a fight with IBF Featherweight champ Josh Warrington afterwards. Guervara returns south of the border with a 27-4 (12 Ko’s) record. 

A bunch of North Jersey ticket sellers were on the undercard . Most prominently seventeen-year-old welterweight Vito Mielnicki, 146 lbs., of Roseland, NJ made his pro debut dispatching Tamarcus Smith, 139 lbs, of Meridian, MS in the first round. Mielnicki has a powerful build for a boxer his age and very quick hands. Press agent Marc Abrams indicated the very popular Mielncki sold over a thousand tickets. Mielnicki starts his senior year at West Essex High School this fall. Smith is now 2-3 (2 Ko’s).

Entering his third year as a professional, John Bauza, North Bergen, NJ, continued to pad his record against inferior competition. The formerly Roc Nation promoted southpaw, Bauza, won a boring eight round decision over Angel Sarinana Gomez, Palacio, MX, in a junior welterweight contest. Bauza is now 13-0 (5 Ko’s). Gomez hovers above .500 at 10-9-2 (4 Ko’s).

Atlantic City boxing savior LaManna Family’s Rising Star Promotions are staging two shows two weeks apart at The Showboat Hotel. On Saturday July 20th, world rated Thomas LaManna headlines the night in a ten rounder. Two other local fan favorites, super welterweight Isiah Seldon and super middleweight Gabriel Pham support the card. LaManna was in negotiations to face former welterweight king Kell Brook on the undercard of Joshua vs Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in June, but Brook would not accept him as an opponent. A rumor circulated that LaManna was in line to challenge WBO Super Welterweight Champ Jamis Munguia for his crown.

On August 3, Rising Star Promotions returns to the ShowBoat Hotel to host the return of the South Jersey bantamweight prospect  Christain Carto. Carto was considered the areas hottest prospect and promoters from around the globe wanted to ink him. Carto won his first seventeen fights, eleven by kayo. One punch from Mexican journeyman Victor Ruiz changed that. Ruiz caught Carto with a shot to the chin that had him knocked out cold before he hit the canvas. The effect of the blow left Carto motionless on the canvas until he was placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. An opponent has yet to be named for Carto. In the co-feature, super middleweight Derrick Webster, will make his come back from a one sided loss in Lennox Allen.

LaManna, Carto, and Webster are big draws and both of these shows will undoubtedly sell out.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Slammiversary XVII Recap

By Steve Ward

The seventeenth installment of Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary emanated from a sold out Gilley’s Complex in Dallas, TX this evening. The stacked card featured eight matches and was headlined by Tessa Blanchard battling Sami Callihan in an intergender match. Impact Wrestling continues to put forth a solid product as they have shown true perseverance after several years of turmoil within their ownership structure that had them on the brink of disaster and they needed to deliver again this evening with the quickly evolving landscape of professional wrestling. Impact did just that but only time will tell how things shape up with AEW coming on strong as their weekly tv program debuts on TNT in October, Ring of Honor is maintaining their foothold with their partnership with NJPW, and of course WWE -despite their stale writing and booking- is still the standard bearer in sports entertainment.

TJP vs. Trey Miguel (of the Rascalz) vs. Jake Crist (of OVE) vs. Willie Mack
Winner: Willie Mack via pinfall

The opening contest of Slammiversary was an X-Division fatal four way attraction featuring TJP (T.J. Perkins) in his first pay per view appearance since his return from being buried in WWE on 205 Live. The action was fast and furious and certainly set the tempo for the evening. The body flying action culminated with the 285 lb Willie Mack executing a frog splash on Jake Crist to solidify the pinfall victory.

Impact Tag Team Championship
The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs. LAX (Santana & Ortiz) w/ Konnan vs. The North (Josh Alexander & Ethan Page) (c)
Winners: The North via pinfall

After shockingly losing their tag team titles to The North Friday night at Bash at the Brewery - an Impact Plus event that literally looked like it was in front of a crowd of 100 people at a brewery - LAX entered as the challengers. Unfortunately for The North, the retention of their titles was overshadowed in this one by a bad landing Santana took that required him to be helped out of the arena after the contest.

First Blood Match
Killer Kross vs. Eddie Edwards
Winner: Eddie Edwards

After weeks of mind games initiated by Killer Kross including the destruction of Edwards’ best friend Kenny - the kendo stick - Edwards achieved retribution this evening as he made Kross bleed by raking the splintered edge of a kendo stick across his mouth.

RVD vs. Moose
Winner: Moose

For several weeks, Moose proclaimed that the old legends needed to retire and go away. This generated a brief feud between Moose and The North and ECW originals RVD, Tommy Dreamer, and Sabu. This short lived program seemingly reached it’s climax this evening in Dallas as Rob Van Dam stood toe to toe with Moose. First things first, RVD may be 48 but he certainly can still keep up with the best of them and has aged pretty well considering the wars he’s been in as he doesn’t look much different than the last time he had a significant run in WWE - with the exception of appearing to enjoy a few beers here and there. It appeared RVD would walk out victorious as he had Moose laid out on top of a chair as he scaled to the top rope for the Five Star Frogsplash. As Van Dam took flight, Moose rolled out of the way leaving nothing but unforgiving steel for RVD to land on. Moose jumped to his feet and nailed RVD with the spear for the pinfall.

Impact Knockouts Championship Monster’s Ball Match
Taya Valkyrie (c) vs. Rosemary vs. Su Yung w/ Father James Mitchell vs. Havoc
Winner: Taya Valkyrie

These ladies wasted no time after the opening bell as they rapidly transformed the ring into a visceral playground littered with chairs, ladders, tables, and eventually thumb tacks. Havoc seemed poised to solidify a dominating victory after she Tombstoned Su Yung from the top rope - yes you read that correctly - onto a bed of tacks but Taya Valkyrie returned to the ring and greeted Havoc with a chair to the face. As Havoc rolled out of the ring, Valkyrie covered Su Yung to retain her title.

X Division Championship
Rich Swann (c) vs. Johnny Impact w/ Johnny Bravo
Winner: Rich Swann

Two of the best high-fliers in not only Impact, but potentially all of pro wrestling, squared off for the storied X Division Title this evening. After a fairly even bout where neither man was really able to create much momentum, Rich Swann was able to persevere. In the closing moments of the match, Swann withstood a series of Spanish Flys (the first from the top rope), Starship Pain, and the antics of Johnny Bravo at ringside to answer with two springboard cutters and the Phoenix Splash to retain his title.

Impact World Championship
Brian Cage (c) vs. Michael Elgin
Winner: Brian Cage

Former Ring of Honor and New Japan star Michael Elgin made his in-ring pay per view debut this evening as he challenged “The Machine” Brian Cage for the Impact Heavyweight Championship. Cage wasted no time bringing the fight to Elgin as the first time Elgin rolled to the outside of the ring, Cage ensured there would be no reprieve for him as he ran and vaulted straight over the top rope to the arena floor taking out Elgin and landing on his feet in the process. In the final minutes of the contest, Cage attempted the Drill Claw but his back “went out” and he dropped Elgin. Elgin answered with a buckle bomb and as he hoisted Cage up for the Elgin Bomb, The Machine slipped out and rolled Elgin up for the pinfall. After the match, Elgin assaulted Cage with the title and then dragged Don Callis into the ring from his commentary position. Just before Elgin was going to lay waste to Callis, a masked man entered the ring from the crowd, executed a spear that looked a lot like a Gore (wink wink), and escaped through the crowd.

Intergender Match
Tessa Blanchard vs. Sami Callihan
Winner: Sami Callihan

A rarity in pro wrestling today, at least in televised matches and never in WWE, Impact decided to push the envelope and headlined this pay per view with an intergender match between Sami Callihan and Tessa Blanchard, the daughter of former Four Horsemen member Tully Blanchard. Blanchard made another huge step this evening as she continued her ascension from barely gaining air time in NXT towards becoming a bona fide superstar as she more than hung in with “The Draw.” Blanchard displayed her grit as she took some huge bumps in this bout but also demonstrated her impressive strength as she hoisted Callihan up for a Samoan Drop at one point. In the closing moments, Callihan escaped a crossface submission to finish Blanchard off with a Cactus Special piledriver allowing him to earn the pinfall.

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